Today, we proudly unveil an innovative referee strategy redefining how the Kent FA supports refereeing within our County.
Our new strategy builds upon the foundation set by the recently released FA National Referee Strategy; our key focus now is to enhance performance, embrace diversity, and improve the environment in which we operate, all while upholding the spirit of the beautiful game.
At the heart of our new referee strategy lies a deep commitment to supporting match officials at the grassroots level of football. We understand that the dedication and passion of these unsung heroes often go unnoticed. Therefore, our strategy places a paramount emphasis on providing local match officials with the tools, resources, and encouragement they need to thrive. These officials are one of the key pillars of our sport, and their growth and development are vital to ensuring the integrity and vibrancy of football is upheld. By nurturing and empowering match officials at the local level, we not only enhance the quality of officiating but also strengthen the bonds that make football so great.
Our Referee Development Lead, Nick Dunn, gave his thoughts on the new strategy:
"Refereeing is an essential component of football, and our commitment to excellence in this field is paramount. To achieve this, our strategy emphasizes rigorous training and development, offering a comprehensive support package to all levels of match officials operating in the grassroots game.
"Additionally, we want to ensure that refereeing within Kent is reflective of all communities. Diversity is a source of strength in football, and our strategy seeks to celebrate this diversity on and off the field. We are committed to promoting diversity among referees, striving for a representation of various backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, driving recruitment and retention of match officials from historically under-represented communities. This not only fosters inclusivity but also enriches diversity within the game."
"Not only are performance and diversity a key focus but improving the environment in which the game is played is also a third pillar in which focus is being turned.
"This strategy extends its vision beyond the pitch, seeking to improve the overall football environment at the grassroots level. We recognize the profound impact of positive interactions between spectators, managers, and players on the game's integrity and enjoyment. We understand that the role of referees is often challenging, and their decisions can be a subject of scrutiny. However, it is essential that we uphold a culture of unwavering respect for these individuals who play a vital role in the game. This includes spectators, managers, and players at the local level actively demonstrating respect for referees' decisions, acknowledging their dedication, and supporting their role in maintaining the integrity of football.
"By fostering an environment where referees are respected and valued, we not only elevate the standards of sportsmanship but also ensure that football remains a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. This commitment to respect within the game strengthens the foundation upon which football's spirit thrives.
"We believe that everyone involved, from players and coaches to fans and administrators, can play a role in enhancing everyone's experience. It is not just about understanding and accepting the decisions made on the pitch; it's about actively promoting an environment where match officials can perform at their best.
"We encourage individuals with a passion for the sport to consider becoming referees. By taking this step, they gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges referees face and contribute to the growth and sustainability of football. Many people will freely 'have a go' at a referee, but rarely do they have a go at refereeing. By standing beside our match officials and even stepping onto the pitch as referees, we ensure that football remains a sport of integrity, fairness, and inclusivity."
The future of football refereeing shines brighter than ever as we unveil this transformative strategy. By enhancing performance, celebrating diversity, and improving the environment we play the game, we aim to make football more inclusive, equitable, and enjoyable. This strategy demonstrates our commitment to being a positive agent of change. As we implement these changes, we invite everyone to join us on this exhilarating journey towards a better, more sustainable future for the beautiful game we all cherish. Together, we can make a profound difference.
DOWNLOAD THE Kent FA Referee Strategy booklet and read in full